Though there are regional sludge scenes all over the globe, few seem to be as vibrant as the scene in the southern United States. Born of a love of Black Sabbath, Black Flag, and good old-fashioned blues, sludge rose out of the swamp, and has been rumbling from amplifiers at volume level 11 since the mid 80’s. Florida’s Hollow Leg carry on this tradition, adding elements of psychedelic rock into the mix as well, on their latest release, Crown.
The tone on Crown is hazy, as if it’s being filtered through moonshine and weed smoke, but at times, gives you a good kick in the guts with some heavy as hell riffing. Hollow Leg worship at the altar of the almighty amplifier, and produce some absolutely soul-crushingly heavy riffs that deserve to be turned up at full volume. Tracks like “Coils” and “New Cult” will hit any Crowbar or Weedeater fans’ sweet spot, with their slow, bluesy pacing, while maintaining a heavy edge. The one-two punch of “Atra” and “Electric Veil” also have a heavy blues vibe, though with a more psychedelic twist, particularly the heavier moments of “Electric Veil,” which remind me of Zoroaster. The vocals are half-yelled, half sung, and match the mood of the music perfectly.
The production here is exactly what the doctor ordered, with a murky, reverb-laden tone, while maintaining enough clarity that you can still hear all the notes and understand the vocals. The guitars and bass have a thick, fuzzy distortion that compliments the riffs perfectly, and gives the overall album a psychedelic edge. The pacing of the album is also assisted by the running order of the songs, which gives the album a very natural-sounding ebb and flow; the songs themselves are all about dynamics, but the overall track layout also does a great job of making the album flow as one complete piece, rather than a collection of songs haphazardly thrown together. Hollow Leg aren’t a new band (they’ve officially been an active unit since 2008), but for those that haven’t paid attention up to this point will certainly be taking notice upon hearing Crown. Though Hollow Leg aren’t really breaking a whole lot of new ground, the formula the use is tried and true, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.